Irrigation canals are operational again, hope restored for farmers
In the western countryside of Raqqa, where agriculture constitute the main source of income for the population, farmers complain from soil salinization and the decline in agricultural production due to the absence of maintenance and cleaning efforts, which led to the growth of weeds and accumulation of soil in irrigation canals, blocking water flow and causing damage to farmlands that lay on both sides of the canals.
Local voluntary efforts to solve the problem have not been effective nor sustainable, thus Four Seasons organization has decided to launch the project “with our own hands we rebuild our lands “, benefiting from the Father Paolo Community Projects Grant.
The project lasted for ten weeks and was aimed at cleaning irrigation canals for an area of about 18 kilometers, which irrigates more than 500 donums of agricultural land benefiting more than 24,000 people in the area.
The organization has signed memorandums of understanding with the Civil Council, the Organizations Affairs Bureau and the Committee on Agriculture and Irrigation, and has commissioned contractors to implement the project.
The project targeted the 3MC feeder canal along with the 9 distributary branch canals, it managed by the end of the project, to maintain a clean and functioning main irrigation canal with its branches, working at their best capacity to serve the surrounding farmlands and provide irrigation. The project also covered maintenance work of specific canal.
Among the project’s outcomes was opening an office for the organization in the Al-Salhabiyah village that oversees the project’s continuity especially after managing to establish good relations with local society and authorities while working on the drains project.
Project beneficiaries expressed their eagerness to work and showed their willingness to volunteer in canal cleaning efforts when workers arrived on site near their farms, farmers helped with only their simple tools while also showing a great sense of hospitality towards the work team.
Awareness sessions have also had a positive impact, the CSO’s team explained, to target farmers, the importance of keeping the canal drains clean and avoiding certain practices that may cause them not to function properly.
The appropriate cleaning techniques were presented in order to ensure the effectiveness of the canals. They were also told that it should be the duty of every farmer to clean the canals that pass through their lands and that they must perform regular cleanings at the end of every season.
Beneficiaries of the project in the Salhabiyah village expressed happiness after irrigation water was restored to their farmlands and thanked Four Seasons for the well-executed project and its accommodative attitude towards the residents, all while pointing that the restoration of irrigation will bring life back to their farms, which in turn will greatly improve their living conditions.
This also helped provide a boost to the agricultural sector which constitutes the main source of livelihood and income for the region.
Four Seasons Director Mr. Fadi Al-Hadi stated, when talking about the CSO’s capacity building, that the executing organization didn’t have sufficient knowledge and expertise with regards to reporting saying: “However, through technical support sessions I was able to write different types of reports related to project implementation.”
The “with our own hands we rebuild our lands” team managed to gain more experience after putting what they’ve learned during the CSSC’s incubation training program into practice. Four Seasons became better equipped in terms of administration and organizational management which enabled its staff to continue to carry out and document their project activities.